February 03, 2016


 I love this tiny metal sculpture, about 4,500 years old---the so-called ‘dancing girl.’ Is there anything about this image that displays dancing? A posture indicating movement? Anything at all? Not that I can see. But Mortimer Wheeler, the great archeologist who worked in Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, termed this the ‘dancing girl’ because she was nude—and in his mind and those of his day, and actually of today also, women who are naked must be performing for men, so the ‘dancing’ name has stuck.

But as I look at her, the way she is standing, she might be waiting for the bus…or her friend…or just nothing. Incidentally the one on display at the National Museum is an imitation which doesn't do justice to the original.

For your information, from Wikipedia is the description below:
“A bronze statuette dubbed the "Dancing Girl", 10.5 centimetres (4.1 in) high [19] and some 4,500 years old, was found in 'HR area' of Mohenjo-daro in 1926.[19] In 1973, British archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler described the item as his favorite statuette:
"She's about fifteen years old I should think, not more, but she stands there with bangles all the way up her arm and nothing else on. A girl perfectly, for the moment, perfectly confident of herself and the world. There's nothing like her, I think, in the world."
John Marshall, another archeologist at Mohenjo-daro, described the figure as "a young girl, her hand on her hip in a half-impudent posture, and legs slightly forward as she beats time to the music with her legs and feet."[20] The archaeologist Gregory Possehl said of the statuette, "We may not be certain that she was a dancer, but she was good at what she did and she knew it." The statue led to two important discoveries about the civilization: first, that they knew metal blending, casting and other sophisticated methods of working with ore, and secondly that entertainment, especially dance, was part of the culture.[19]